Location: Falmouth Harbour, Antigua
The day was a straightforward one, at least as straightforward as any day on a sailboat in the Caribbean could be. For me, it began when I woke up early to phone my Gran. I shared the stories of our recent passage, and she gave me the ins and outs of her magnificent garden at this time of year. While on the phone, a grand old sea turtle surfaced beside the vessel and gave me a morning nod before dipping again almost a sort of, “good to see you again.” During wake-ups, I continued my personal tradition of listing the many reasons for rising to meet the fine day, and the friendly turtle was a fine enough reason indeed.
The morning disappeared as the boat was put to bed after the short final passage. Falmouth Harbour is a familiar setting by now, the place from which we first set sail, over 4000 nautical miles ago. It seemed fitting as the extra sails, the jibs and fisherman, were unhanked, furled on deck, and bundled into their bags to be stowed, with the goats again ever watching. By this point, however, our journey has been so much more than a few thousand miles through all types of winds and seas it’s been a personal adventure deep into our own understandings of ourselves. Bittersweet nostalgia hung thick in the air as the sails were flaked for the last time. The mood, however, could not be shaken, and in no time, the deck was cleaned and squared away, swabbing and sponging along to the rhythm of Fleetwood Mac’s undying Rumours.
The afternoon was high energy as well. On the practical side of the Rescue Diver, certification began with boat side surface assists. In three separate groups, we practiced rescuing an unresponsive diver at the surface and tired divers at the surface with throwing assists and swimming assists. Action! This was yelled to mark the beginning of each mini scenario, where we’d have to put on our best actor’s hats to simulate real-life pressure. The trickiest part was returning the victims to the deck of the vessel where medical care can be administered. Vela, being as pronounced as she is, poses a challenge to the process of life-saving. However, we all practiced pulling our victims into the floating dinghy to be lifted, and Anthony even proved that it’s possible to scale the boarding ladder with another person (Tom) cradled across his chest like a koala hugging its perch.
Finally, before winding down for the day, Max, Maddie, and Will pulled off a marvelous shepherd’s pie, an amazing and mysterious feat considering the oven is temporarily out of commission.
Meghan’s pre-passage briefing, drawn to scale with meticulous detail on a whiteboard before leaving St Lucia, included goats on arrival in Falmouth. Lo and behold, our mealtime antics were overseen by an enormous herd, densely packed onto the steep cliffs at the back of our anchorage.
1. Anthony’s heroic rescue up the boarding ladder
2. Katie, Val, and Greg posing while waiting for their chance to showcase their acting skills
3. Smash explaining how to single-handedly retrieve an unconscious diver from the water
4.a better angle of Tony’s rescue (and Tom)
5.Hannah entering for a swimming assist
6.Bennitt entering for a swimming assist
7.Sonnet demonstrating a classic retrieval
8. Bennitt demonstrating a classic deep water entry, with floatation aid in hand.
9.A fun game of rescue or be rescued, with the goat cliff pictured in the background.
10. Hannah assisting her tired diver, Colm.
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